Monday, February 18, 2013

What's In A Mane?

This is one of those posts where I go on and on and on about something I don't understand.

Like hair. The mane. The "luscious" headdress that men and women the world over covet so much for some reason.

I recently got a haircut, which isn't a new thing for me. I've never been able to let my hair grow beyond my shoulder - you'd understand if you lived in India during the summer. Now, I went to my usual parlour, and had a new lady do my hair, and asked her to give me a boy-cut. Now a cut that short is no big deal for me. HOWEVER, it seemed to pain her to snip off whatever little hair was already on my head (we're talking about a bob that's a little below the ear. In my world, that's long hair). Her opening statement to me: "You have lovely hair, why snip it off?" I responded in silence, my irritation threatening to take over. Throughout that session, she kept passing comments such as "you've had a hair cut like this before?" Or "you have guts" or "oh I see that it looks nice on you".

Ignoring the fact that she'd messed up the cut and that I had to go in and fix it once I got home, here's what bugged me about the whole situation: It's my hair. I'll shave it all off if I have to, what's it to you?

Which brings us to the premise: What's with the obsession with (I'm going to be specific and sexist) a woman's haircut - the lack/ presence of one?

Why is it that the way a woman's hair looks or is set, seems to define her? Why does being a woman mean having long(ish) hair? Why does a woman have to be 'ballsy' or 'fierce' (very technical terms, these) if she decides to go for a short crop? It's our choices that define us; true. But I'd love to know how my boy-cut tells people that I'm fierce or confident, or how my long hair tells people that I'm graceful and poised at all times. I bet you wouldn't look at my short hair and think, "Maybe she's just trying to avoid wanting to kill herself when summer comes along" or "Maybe she's just saving herself the effort of having to wash her hair every day". Ironic, since those really are the reasons why I cut my hair. See how my hair gives you neither of those two things?

Another thing that frustrates me is how men think they have a right over a woman's hair, or have the right to pass judgement on a woman's choice of cut. My own father hasn't spoken to me for 2 days when I first got a boy-cut three years ago. What gave men the right to think that a woman's hair is their pride and joy? Heck, if if makes you so happy to sit and stare at a head of hair, grow your own. God blessed you with an empty head and a decent mane; use it.

Woman through time, famous or not, have gone short. Joan of Arc, Kiran Bedi, Indira Gandhi, Emma Watson, Anne Hathaway (Hollywood deserves recognition) have all gone short. But no one talks about how their hair cut defined them, and shaped them into the legends they are. Why? Cuz, just in case I haven't made my point: it doesn't matter. There. Bam.

Dear world,
Know this. My hair does not define me. It tells you nothing about my personality, my life or my attitude. It doesn't define my beauty, nor does it care for your opinion. It doesn't get its own stocking on Christmas, nor does it get a last name. My hair does not help you solve your problems, nor does it laugh at your silly jokes.
My hair belongs to me. How I want to cut it, shape it, wear it, colour it, hold it, twirl it, dry it, tie it - IS MY DECISION.

And no, you don't have a say in the matter.

I leave you with this:


Adeena said...

You look absolutely adorable, Shruti!

Shruti Bhiwandiwala said...

Thanks so much, Adeena! :D